A SIGN on the front of one of York's oldest buildings has sparked a protest.

Happy Valley Chinese Restaurant in Our Lady's Row in Goodramgate has applied for retrospective planning permission having attached signage to the front of the building.

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The Ghost of William Etty - a group formed back in the 1990s to help save York stone pavements from being pulled up in city streets - has objected to the sign saying it is vandalism of a Grade 1 listed building.

One of the group's founders, Gordon Campbell-Thomas, is on a mission to get the sign removed, saying the owners put it up without getting planning permission. He will be staging a protest outside the restaurant on Friday, April 5 at 12.30pm and wants people to join him.

But Junyue Tan from Happy Valley said the sign is needed to attract customers after he has been saddled with a whopping £8,000 insurance bill.

The application follows a similar application from the neighbouring Old York Tearoom last year. On that occasion City of York Council denied retrospective planning application and the business owners have appealed the decision.

York Press: The exterior of Happy Valley Chinese Restaurant in GoodramgateThe exterior of Happy Valley Chinese Restaurant in Goodramgate (Image: Supplied)

Mr Campbell-Thomas said: "Once again York is on a slippery slope.

"First one commercial business thinks it can flout planning regulations, and cock a snook at the city’s heritage and history by defacing a Grade 1 listed building and now its neighbour, the Happy Valley Chinese Restaurant is trying it on with the people and the council.

"They have applied for retrospective planning permission for a large brightly painted green coloured sign to be fitted on the first floor level of their shop situated on Our Lady’s Row.

“Enough is enough; let us stop this outright vandalism. Two thousand years of history and heritage must count for something rather than crass commercialism.”

York Press: Flashback to Gordon Campbell-Thomas protesting in Goodramgate last year Flashback to Gordon Campbell-Thomas protesting in Goodramgate last year (Image: Supplied)

Mr Tan said: "The sign is needed to keep the business running. We need to attract customers as often people say they can't find us.

"Our insurance bill is now £8,000 - are those objecting going to pay the bill? It was £2,000, but it has gone up after a lorry hit the outside of the building and and damaged it. The driver was trying to avoid a blue badge holder who was parked so he couldn't get past."

According to York Civic Trust Our Lady's Row is one of the oldest buildings of its type, not only in York, but in the country and it was built in 1317.

Anyone interested in joining Mr Campbell-Thomas on the protest or wanting to get involved can contact him on ghost.williametty@gmail.com